Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thursday Etsy Tips: List an Item

We've now registered a shop on Etsy, personalized the Info and Appearance section, and learned about branding. All this gives you a solid foundation for a great shop.

But what's the point of having a shop without filling it?

List an Item

Listing an Item is easy. However there are some tips to make your listed item more likely to get found in the Etsy searches.

First, Etsy requires some basic information About the Item. This refers to who made the item, what it is (a finished product or a supply) and when it was made. This may seem like a "no-brainer" but not everyone on Etsy makes a finished product. There are also vintage sellers who do not make their own product and there is room for a shop to be co-run, keeping in mind that all members must be listed on your About page.

Categories help to narrow down where your item will be found in search. Sometimes more than one category would be appropriate for your item, however you can only pick one for each item. Since you will always be adding to your shop, a good way to be found in different searches is to add one item under one category and then next time you add a new item you can place it in a different appropriate category.

Indicate whether your item is a physical item or a digital item. If your item is digital (eg. pattern, template, etc.) then you will then be prompted to upload the file.

Variations only apply to physical items. This is a handy way in which you can list simple variations on a product without having to list multiple items. This can especially be helpful for orders in which simple details can be customized.

Upload photos. Photos are very important for selling online. Photos need to convey almost every aspect of your item. Customers do not have the benefit of being able to touch or hold your item, so your photos really need to say a lot. You can find some photo tips here. Be sure to use all five photo slots. Be creative, using different angles and distances.

Keep in mind that photos should be between 800 - 1000 pixels wide. The height can be variable, but images more than 1000 pixels square don't upload so well. Etsy automatically crops your image to fit. You can adjust your first photo (the one that will appear in search) when you "Preview Listing" which brings you to a page prior to publishing, but it is a bit limited in what it can edit. There are many free programs out there that can help you with photo editing prior to uploading.

The Item Title will help narrow down your item in search. It is important not only to have a descriptive title, but also an accurate one. Try searching as a shopper. Can you find your own item, or similar items with your title? Try to have the key search words near the beginning of the title, as they will carry more weight in search. You have up to 140 characters, but make them count. While descriptive titles are a must, don't feel like you need to say everything. That's what the Description section is for.

Some people like to have long Descriptions, but I think it's best to be short and sweet. You don't want to lose people before they find out what your item is made of. If something special inspired this certain item, then say it; people are interested. But if there is a long story behind your creative process, the About page might be a more appropriate place for it.

Potential buyers want to be able to see what the item is, materials used, the item size, shape and colour, and possibly tips in how to use it or other special instructions. If you have similar items it is helpful to put a link here also to keep traffic in your shop.

Shop Sections are optional, but they are a great way to keep your shop organized. Maybe someone likes your style, but doesn't want to go through your stuff page by page. Sections help the buyer find exactly what they are looking for. They also help advertise other products you have. They might not realize what else you have in your shop until they see the nice little menu of the left sidebar saying what's there.

You can have up to 10 sections. These can be categorized any way you like; what would work best for you really depends on your store. I sort mine by item type. However if your store is all one type of thing, then sorting by colour or size may be best.

There is a place for Recipient, Occasion, and Style. These are optional and they may even damage your searchability. It is great if you have something for a special occasion (eg. Christmas, Wedding, Halloween), but if it can be for both something specific and general (eg. Wedding or special gift) then it's best to leave this spot alone. 

Tags are basically another name for search words. You want to have descriptive keywords that match what someone will look for in search. Keywords include things that describe the style, colour, texture and technique. Again think of yourself as a customer looking for your exact item. How would you type it in when searching for it? Tags can have up to 20 characters and be more than one word. You have 13 tags: use them all!

Materials may seem a lot like Tags but they are not. Materials gives your customer a simple and clear overview of what your item is made of. You can have up to 14 materials listed, but these will not show up in search, so don't worry about going overboard. 

Price is something that all sellers struggle with at one point or another, and eventually need to recalculate. When you make your item, be sure to calculate how much the materials cost and how long it took you to make it. 

Another great feature is the Quantity. You can indicate that you have multiples of the same item. When your items sells, it will remain active and you will only be charged the listing fee once that has happened. This is also great if people want to buy multiples of your item. 

Shipping information is vital. If not filled out correctly there can be lots of confusion and unhappy customers. To make things simpler, Etsy has incorporated Shipping Profiles which you can set up beforehand to streamline things. 

The shipping section communicates to your customer the processing time, country of origin and how much the shipping will cost. 

Processing time refers to how long it will take you to get the item in the mail. This is different from your creating time if it is a custom order. Time for making a custom order needs to be clearly identified directly to the customer and/or in your description. 

You have the basic cost of shipping. If a customer orders more than one item, whatever you put in the "with another item" space will be added to the basic cost.

You can choose if you would like to ship internationally or not. This is an option, but you have a much larger group of people to sell to if you do. To ship to other countries simply click "add location." You can add either individual countries or "everywhere else."

Now click "Preview Listing" and you will be directed to a new screen where you have a chance to see exactly how your listing will look before you publish it. 

How does it look? It it a good first photo? Are there spelling mistakes? You can either "edit" and fix these, "save as draft" for publishing or editing another time, or go on to "publish."

Once you hit the "Publish" button, your listing is live! Post it too your Facebook or Tweet for more publicity.

Keep listing items and pretty soon you will have a store full! The more items listed the better the chance in being found on Etsy.

Andrea Davis resides in Winnipeg. A proud member of WEST for 2 years and the owner of "We Are Bound Together", a shop where 100% of the proceeds go to charities. Check out her shop, or blog.

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